Café Procope

An introduction to the Café Procope

By: The OpenLearn team (Programme and web teams)

  • Duration 5 mins
  • Updated Tuesday 19th June 2007
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under French
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Cafe Procope's location Copyrighted image Copyright: Open2 team

Cafe Procope, Paris Copyrighted image Copyright: BBC

This is the oldest café in Paris. It originated in 1686 when it opened as a coffee-shop. The café was close to the then theatre of Paris, contributing to its popularity. It soon became a meeting place for people of ideas and letters, becoming the first literary coffee-shop.

For more than two centuries anyone of any renown in the world of arts, literature or politics, could be found here. The reputation of French intellectuals for discussion and debate is still in evidence and current generations still meet here to talk about their concerns, ideas and plans, attracting a mix of writers and journalists, university professors, businessmen and tourists.

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